UPDATE: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is expected to give a statement on the subject of impeachment at 4 p.m. EST Tuesday.
As Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi meets with Democrats behind closed doors on Tuesday, sources indicate that she is getting closer to supporting what has been a majority of her caucus’s position: moving forward with an impeachment inquiry on President Donald Trump.
It’s a huge development inasmuch that Pelosi has tried to perform the function of a “cooling saucer” on the subject within the House for the past several months. In May, for instance, in a caucus meeting with other Democrats, Pelosi was criticized by a House member for worrying too much that impeachment proceedings against Trump would hurt the party politically.
“This isn’t about politics at all,” Pelosi is alleged to have said to that member, according to reporting from Politico. “It’s about patriotism. It’s about the strength we need to have to see things through.”
Flash forward to this week, and Pelosi is suddenly seemingly more open to the idea. The reason? According to reporting from Vanity Fair, the recent revelations that Trump pressured Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to open a corruption investigation on Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, in a phone call on July 25, days after he cut off military aid to that country, could be driving Pelosi to respond.
There is no evidence that Biden or his son committed any actions that were improper.
Those familiar with Pelosi’s new take on Trump’s misdeeds say she’s taking the recent controversy very serious. “I believe that the Speaker will set forth her theory of how we need to proceed in this time of emergency. I know she is truly alarmed at recent revelations about the president’s conduct,” Rep. Jamie Raskin, a Democrat who sits on both the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees, said.
SCOOP: Longtime impeachment skeptic @SpeakerPelosi is sounding out members on impeachment, asking if the time has come bc of the Ukraine news/controversy
— Rachael Bade (@rachaelmbade) September 24, 2019
And a statement from Pelosi herself could come sooner rather than later. “I wouldn’t be surprised if something happens by the end of the week, where there is going to be a plan or a formal type of recognition of the process,” a congressional aid revealed.
There are other signs that Pelosi is having a change of heart on the matter. The Speaker is purportedly calling on members of her caucus who have previously been silent to speak out on the subject, explaining their feelings on impeachment. Pelosi is even encouraging freshmen lawmakers to take a position on the issue, CNN reported.
Polling on the matter varies, with support from Americans on the idea of impeaching the president being somewhere between the 30- to 50-percent-range, according to a recent report from NPR.
But it may be that Congress will have to start proceedings in order to gain support for the idea of impeachment as well. As reporting from the Washington Post has detailed, historically support for impeaching a president — particularly, Richard Nixon in the 1970s — didn’t garner a majority of Americans backing the idea until well-into a congressional inquiry was started looking into his actions.
Much of that shift was due to Republican voters finally realizing that the former president’s actions were uncouth. By August of 1974, 31 percent of Republicans supported removal of Nixon. Just one month before, only 17 percent of Republican voters backed the idea.
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Chris Walker is a freelance writer based out of Madison, Wisconsin. A millennial with more than a decade of journalism experience, Chris aims to provide readers with the latest and most accurate news of national importance. Chris likes to spend his free time doing activities in his community with his family.